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How to Excel in Beauty Industry Marketing with Chris Balbi

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Esther is a business strategist with over 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur, executive, educator, and management advisor.

How to Excel in Beauty Industry Marketing with Chris Balbi

Dive into the vibrant and ever-evolving landscape of digital marketing in the beauty industry through our conversation with Chris Balbi. Chris, an expert in aesthetics marketing, shares his journey from an unplanned entry into the field to becoming a leader in innovative marketing strategies.

This interview touches upon various facets of digital marketing, including the transformative role of social media, effective client engagement tactics, and emerging trends. It’s a treasure trove of insights for entrepreneurs in the beauty sector and marketing professionals seeking to broaden their horizons with novel ideas and approaches.

Specialization in Beauty Industry Marketing

SBS – Why did you choose to specialize in the aesthetics industry, and how much did the specialization help you in your marketing career? How did you decide to focus on that particular industry?

Chris – I ended up in the aesthetic industry by happenstance. I worked in the college industry, and I hated it. Everything in education moved so slowly. I moved into aesthetics because it’s more fast-paced. I ended up speaking to a relevant audience more frequently. I also have a dash of undiagnosed ADD, so it’s nice in the aesthetic industry that we talk about this topic for three months, and then we’re onto something else.

I also like it because people will always dream to look their best. The services we offer today (Botox) might not be around forever, but there will be something else out there that I can adopt. I also felt like it’s a very secure industry. 

Recipe for a Successful Digital Marketing Campaign

SBS – What are the key components of a successful digital marketing campaign today? 

Chris – Today, it’s definitely about relevancy and news. For example, my most successful campaign was related to the Barbie movie that came out back in July. We’re almost six months past that, but I ended up selling a million dollars worth of sales in 48 hours because we talked about Barbie, and everyone else was talking about Barbie, so it was very top-of-mind awareness and relevant.

My other big thing is standing out. So, if you’re going to talk about Barbie and everyone else is, what are you going to do to stand out from everyone else talking about Barbie? For example, in most of my campaigns, we don’t do 10% off or 20% off. We do 13% off for Friday 13 or 14% off for Valentine’s Day, trying to be a bit different than the others.

My biggest tagline, something you can say Chris Balbi speaks on, is “community over competition.” I don’t want anyone to try to compete with me. I want us all to be in the same ecosystem because if you do well, then I do well, and if I do well, then you do well. If we’re competing, we’re just stumbling all over each other.

We can always learn from each other, and I think we’re going to go farther if we learn from each other than if we’re spending so much time trying to be better than each other. My mom calls that knowledge “pearls of wisdom.” Anytime we go to a conference, she says, “It might be a really bad conference, but if you can take away one or two pearls, then you’re good.”

Evolution of Social Media in Business Promotion

SBS – How do you think the role of social media in business promotion has evolved in recent years?

Chris – It’s so funny that you bring that up. I was just talking to a colleague about this new word that I’m coining — edutainment. Five years ago, marketing promotions were really heavy on education. You wanted to educate, educate, educate, almost to the point where it was getting boring. Then, the pendulum shifted, and it was all about entertainment, doing the funny dances and gags.

Now, we’re in the middle — you want to educate people while also being entertaining. You don’t want to be drabble and boring. You don’t want to be silly and sassy. You want to be right in the middle, educating people through entertainment. Particularly with the advances of TikTok and Instagram reels, you have more space to do that.

Today, I’m working on downloading my YouTube videos because TikTok just published that they want horizontal videos that are over a minute long. Videos on TikTok used to be 30–45 seconds. It evolved so quickly that we’re already shifting into a different thing. Right now, we’re in a big trend of edutainment. You want to be entertaining but also educational and provide some sort of graspable knowledge to your consumer. 

Best Social Media Platforms for Business Promotion

SBS – Which social network do you believe is the most relevant when it comes to business promotion? Does it depend on the niche?

Chris – I would say it’s niche-specific. I’m a med spa, which means I don’t ship my products. We have to inject the Botox, so Instagram is most successful for my niche because it’s hyper-local. I’m not looking to go viral on TikTok because if I’m popular in California or Florida, I don’t make a profit on those people. I need to be hyper-specific here in my East Coast region of Philadelphia. When I am popular on Instagram, people say, “I’m in your backyard, I’ll come visit you.” 

If you’re in a service-based industry where you have to provide the service in person, Instagram is your go-to. If you’re in a retail-based sector where you can ship your product, use TikTok. With the advances in TikTok shop, you don’t have to leave the app to make a purchase, so if you’re selling things, you can sell them right on TikTok and ship them. There’s also a service-based industry when providing a virtual service internationally. That would also lean into TikTok. So, TikTok wins if the service is shippable or virtual, but if it’s in person only, it’s going to be Instagram. 

Client Engagement

SBS – What tactics have you recently found most effective to increase client engagement and response rates on platforms like Facebook or Instagram?

Chris – For me, gamification is a big one. I attach a giveaway to probably half of my posts. How do you afford to do so many giveaways, you may ask? Honestly, the secret is that if I give away 3–5 units of Botox, which is a $60 investment, I end up with 10 or 20 clients who end up paying for that. I also ask questions like, “How do you feel about *blank*?” or “What’s your guess with how much of *blank* we did this year?” Those kinds of questions elicit a response to increase the engagement.

Elements of Successful Training

SBS – How can you describe your on-site training program’s structure or key elements?

Chris – Typically, I set things apart by talking about the six steps to going viral using a book by Jonah Berger. It’s called Contagious. What I enjoy about it is its breakdown of what you need to have a successful Instagram, TikTok, or social media post. Primarily, it’s social interaction. There’s a work on triggers. You want to make sure that if the Oscars are happening, you’re talking about the Oscars. You want to put emotion and practical value behind it. I layer those steps and say, “These are all the things you should strive to hit.” Then I break it down so you can get into a pretty easy rhythm. For example, on Mondays, I post More Info Mondays; on Tuesdays, I do Trivia Tuesdays; on Wednesdays, I do Winter Wednesdays, and Thursdays are Throwback Thursdays. This regiment helps me stay on the path, so I train to that model. When people leave my training, I always tell them to work in advance, print out a calendar for a month, and write down all your posts for that month. Then, they don’t have to think hard every day. They just check their calendar and know what they’re going to do.

Creating Content That Stops the Scroll

SBS – What is your approach to creating compelling content that stands out in digital space?

Chris – I have an expression that I always say: I want to stop the scroll. My mode is to always be just a little bit crass. For example, I take one of my injectors’ faces, and I Photoshop a bunch of acne on it so people can wonder what that is. Or maybe I have a picture of someone falling over a box. That’s faked, but you wonder if that person will be okay. I always want to try to stop the scroll by creating content that’s not just eye-catching in terms of brightness but also creates a sense of movement and emotion. My biggest suggestion is not to overthink it but just work on creating content that will stop the scroll. 

Focusing on Etsy or AnswerThePublic Keywords

SBS – How do you utilize tools like Google Analytics or AdWords to enhance marketing strategies for yourself?

Chris – Actually, I don’t love Google Adwords or Google Analytics. I prefer to use things like answerthepublic.com or Etsy keywords because I want to know what people are searching for in purchasing and crafting and what questions they ask.

My problem with Google AdWords and Analytics is that it seems very detailed, but it’s not. What I end up with on Google AdWords for my industry-specific keywords is “Botox near me” or “best Botox practices.” Okay, but how is that helping my social media marketing?

When I end up on answerthepublic.com, I get questions like “Is Botox safe for pregnant women?” That’s a big question. Then, I know my content has to be focused on pregnant women. On Etsy or even TikTok shop, I see people searching for “anti-aging products, no botox.” I think Botox is the best for anti-aging, but some people are so against it, and I have to think of creative ways to advertise against that.

I’ll be honest: You asking that question is great because it means you’ve asked everyone else that since that’s the industry standard. But if everyone’s doing that, I don’t want to because then I will be like everybody else, right? 

Staying Updated with Trends

SBS – What are the latest trends in digital marketing, and how do you stay up to date?

Chris – You’re not going to love this answer, but I think we’ll see a shift back to physical marketing. I believe that the digital marketing space will be oversaturated in the next couple of years, and smart marketers will start integrating physical content again. I don’t love billboards or paper magazines, but I feel like they are going to begin installing eye-catching or interactive art pieces that are sponsored by your company.

Have you seen those giant mural wings that people stand in front of to get a picture? Smart people will start sponsoring moments like that as a marketing tactic. That’s because we spend so much time on our phones that, as humans, we’re beginning to crave external stimulation, like those wings, pop-up parties, or things like that.

In a digital sense, I think we’re stuck with TikTok for a bit. I don’t see anything coming down the pipeline. Ads will be ads. However, in a marketing sense, we will see a return to physical marketing.

With AI as a tool, I won’t make any money. I have to use AI to create ideas that I then have to translate to my clientele. Here’s the thing. I tried using AI. I learned how to use it just to stay on the cutting edge, but there are still limitations. AI knows about my industry (the beauty industry). What AI doesn’t know is about my audience. 

Advice for Future Beauty Industry Entrepreneurs & Marketers

SBS – What advice would you give those wanting to start a business in the beauty industry?

Chris – The best advice I can give you is to stop focusing on advertising and start focusing on audience building. I’m going to use Kim Kardashian as an example. When Kim Kardashian releases a new lipstick, she’s not successful because the lipstick is amazing. She’s successful because she’s got three million people watching. You could offer the most amazing product in aesthetics. It might be the best Botox in the world, but if nobody’s watching you, your product doesn’t matter. So stop focusing on advertising when you don’t have an audience, and start focusing on building an audience. Honestly, I run into many people who try to jump on the latest trends, and I tell them, “Okay, that’s cool. But if no one’s watching you use these, why bother using them?”


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How to Excel in Beauty Industry Marketing with Chris Balbi